Caught Creating Branded Content

I wasn’t surprised to read today about the real need for content creation. According  to Outsource Success: Brands Re-Up Content Marketing  the vast majority – almost 80% of brands are rapidly shifting into branded content.

Since content, especially well crafted and on target can be used across multiple channels and properties, the need is clear. In a “conversation” versus a “one to many” world, more and more content needs to be created in the specific way that allows it to be used on multiple levels in many different ways.

The content creation “time-suck” increasingly obvious to even the most newly created social media team, seems destined to drive outsourcing to teams of content creators well versed in multiple ways to create and use content. It’s a unique way of thinking.

When we create content, we, perhaps after all of these years, think globally and write globally. How can we translate this into a Facebook post? How does this headline work on Twitter? Is the SEO strong? What parts would work well on Pinterest? Is there a graphic element I can include How do readers use this type of content? How will they share it?

The explosion in content has whipsawed we web writers from crafting long thoughtful pieces of self expression to cramming key words into a framework of a thought back to carefully selected word-smithing for selected audiences. It’s been a heady ride.

In times like these, I thank my parents for ensuring that I was both a voracious and eclectic reader. Voice, tone and experience  drive engagement – connect with the intended audience on their level and in the way they want to use your content and engagement explodes. So, reading People, Gourmet, Kiwi and National Geographic Kids, along with Malcolm Gladwell and Hemingway and Austin with a dollop of  CNET, WSJ and Yoga Journal thrown in, may make my more literary minded friends laugh, but make my job easier!

 Maryanne Conlin, CEO of RedRopesDigital likes browsing the magazine rack at Barnes and Noble.


You can’t Advertise Yourself out of a Bad Relationship!


The above from an article by Bob Garfield about the recent presidential election, called Advertising Loses in a   Mudslide. The article, of course deals with the massive advertising campaign put on by the Romney campaign which was overshadowed by gaffes and inauthenticity perceived by voters. I don’t want to get into politics here, because the “Ah Ha” that I got out of it was reinforced by a fan comment one of my clients got on more or less the same point.

Advertising has a new challenge – authenticity. Not that we haven’t learned that over the past few years with the scandals du jour of the likes of Lance Armstrong and Tiger Woods, but as fan engagement through social media and online interaction increases, brands must strive even harder to stay on message in everything they do.

This means vetting every celebrity endorser to the nth degree or coming up with a good response to the now absolutely inevitable and extremely loud response from a strong base. The harder you work to build a fan base, the more you can expect dissenting voices.

My takeaway is not so much that advertising is dead, but that advertising need to be more and more closely aligned with the 24/7 feedback arriving via social media.


 Maryanne Conlin, CEO of RedRopesDigital likes maintaining relationships especially when they lead to good conversation     and good food.

Frustrated by Facebook et al.

Ask any marketer what they think of social media and you are almost guaranteed ambivalence. We love it. We hate it. It’s a constant challenge. So, it was interesting to read Chief Marketer’s 2012 Social Marketing Study, which spells out exactly what it is that drives us crazy.

The most common frustrations linked to profits of course, are something that social media platforms are going to have to play a big role in figuring out… to stay in business. Those linked to content (creating, curating and managing) though, speak more to experience than anything else.

As I mentioned in this great post  on Spinsucks, which sparked a lot of conversation, there is the technical time management issue around social media which overwhelms us.  But in a classic forest versus trees conundrum, streamlining to seemingly optimize time spent, ends up costing more in terms of both resources and dollars than focusing on optimizing the delivery of the brand message.

It’s not so hard to reduce the frustration of providing content and reduce the work involved, when you focus on the brand voice and not the time it takes to deliver it.

Social Media Is Not For Interns – KitchenAid Tweet ‘Nuff Said

Making the rounds in the digital press this week is the epic fail by  @KitchenAidUSA during Wednesday’s presidential debate.  This tasteless tweet was sent out by a member of the KitchenAid social media team who…quite obviously, thought he or she were using a personal account. O0ps.

Since many of us were watching the debate live streaming or on channels featuring a Twitter stream of the debates, this was a really, really bad time to hit the wrong button on Hootsuite! It shows though, that it’s really, really important to make sure you have the right people on your social media team;  by right people, I mean experienced people.

Now, I must admit, that I have, a time or two, accidentally hit “reply all”  without meaning to, but I’ve been managing brand social media accounts for far too long to not have set up safeguards to avoid just the sort of thing that happened on Wednesday night. It does happen though, far too often, if perhaps not so publicly to brand after brand who mistake personal social media experience for expertise.

As you would not dream of having a PR intern or junior staffer be the spokesperson for the company, it is clearly inappropriate to assign the public mouthpiece of the company online to the most junior of employees, rather than to experienced social media managers..

Professional social media managers,  go beyond tweeting or posting and engulf themselves in the marketing of the brand. This means immersing themselves in the personality of the brand to engage the passion of the users. This means knowing which tools make life easier and which make life easier…but too often set you up for failure too.

While barely a profession yet, incidents like these make us see the need for training in social media. When we do our full day and half day sessions one of the biggest questions we are asked is about tools. What do you think of Hootsuite? How about Tweetdeck? How often should I schedule posts? This is what leads to tweets like those one put out by KitchenAid.

The real questions should be: How do I best get to know our fans? How can I tell when I’m engaging?  How can I avoid making mistakes!



Bicultural Not Ethnic Marketing

I came across an article from PRSA today, that discusses a reality that those of us who work in Hispanic marketing often discuss and share with our clients.

The new diverse: multiracial and bicultural

As marketing moves more and more online, this is readily apparent in the ways that we approach the leaders and influencers online. For instance, the majority of the Hispanic population in the United States is bilingual or English dominant. Like immigrants coming into this country for centuries…after the second generation, the dominant language becomes English. Unlike prior generations, immigrants from many parts of Asia and Latin America (and in selected cities in the U.S, from anywhere in the world), can retain their culture and integrate their language into their everyday lives.

That doesn’t mean that English and American culture is not their dominant culture, it just means that this generation has the opportunity to keep their culture a little closer than immigrants past. For me, this means that “Spanglish” is often the best way to communicate with this target market. Not pigeon Spanish, but rather the fluid mix of English and Spanish used by those of Hispanic origin born or raised here.

This, is of course, not exclusive to this community. In any gathering of immigrants from Germany to India, the conversation flows back and forth between languages. For the well educated, progressive leaders of the online Hispanic community that understanding goes a long way toward making decisions about how, when and where to reach this market. Univision – yes. CNN – si!

Department of Interim Technology- Scan -To -Share

I’ve been working on plans this week – one year, five year, next month…

My mostly, mid size clients, $50-$500 million, have somewhere between the “all the money in the world” of the big brands and the shoestring budget of small businesses.Practically, that means, we have to pick and choose the technologies, social media platforms and “new and exciting” apps we pursue.

Ad Ag Relaunch Includes New “Scan to Share”

This one, ‘Scan to print” strikes me as an interim technology…for people who still read trade news via print. Note, reading on paper will be around for the foreseeable future..but IMHO, reading and sharing of trade news will rapidly move online …just about only.

The Organic Debate – Why Consumers Buy Organic Anyway!

Surfing the different posts on the web about the recent debate on the health benefits of organic, I keep coming back to a simple question that needs to be considered…as a marketer, I mean:

Why in the world consumers buy organic anyway?

It’s not “nutritional value”.

It’s not vitamin content.
It’s Pesticides…or lack of them actually. ( and some GMO concern thrown in there too.)

So, am I worried about the impact of this recent report on marketing organics?




Nobody’s on Twitter – Not.

I’ve been working on  Twitter parties this week for two different clients, which is interesting because nobody is on Twitter. O K – that’s not only misses the point.

Content providers are on Twitter – journalists, bloggers, celebrities. Sure, a slice of Twitter users are also teens and 20 something communicators, but for these products, that’s not my target.

It’s hard to measure Twitter by tracking clicks on your website, when your reaching out to influencers who will actually provide the link in some other places (blog/Facebook page,etc.) masking your Twitter efforts.

That is one of the reasons a Twitter party such a great tool, though a bit cumbersome, you CAN track participants over time to see how they disseminated your brand message. Now I’m just waiting for someone to write an app!